Los Angeles Lakers: Magic wins Finals MVP playing center
In start contrast to their Los Angeles counterparts, the Lakers have an abundance of winning, Hall-of-Fame players, and incredible moments littered throughout the history of their franchise. With 16 NBA Championships in the history of the Lakers, they confirm that they are on of these teams where there’s almost no way to choose which one tops the rest.
To me, the one moment in the history of the Lakers that stands above the rest is Magic Johnson’s performance in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals. Out of all the magnificent things that have happened regard the Lakers, Magic’s performance in that game just has an edge over every other moment.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had been the MVP of the league for the Lakers that season, but Los Angeles wasn’t going to be able to use him as they tried to close out the Finals series against the Philadelphia 76ers. In Game 5, Kareem sprained his ankle and was ruled out for Game 6. Lakers coach Paul Westhead then landed on a backup option: play the 6’9” Johnson at center. When asked by his coach Johnson obliged.
Over the course of the Game 6 action, Johnson played every position on the court for the Lakers. He wasn’t just moving all over the court with no productivity at all, though. Johnson went completely off in the contest as he put up 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, one block, and three steals as he led his team to victory and to their first title since 1973.
Johnson won Finals MVP honors and that result was never really in question. A player isn’t supposed to be able to play all five positions in this league, much less play them at a Finals MVP-type level. The fact that Magic pulled that off in only his second NBA season will never be unimpressive and that game stands alone as the greatest moment in Lakers history.
Next: Memphis Grizzlies